Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Blogosphering in the News
A little more than a year ago, John Hawkins listed the most influential center-right bloggers. (He ignored left-of-center blogs and non-political blogs because he was not well acquainted with them.) His list was as follows:
1. Andrew Sullivan
3. The Corner
4. The Volokh Conspiracy
5. Little Green Footballs
6. Lileks (James) The Bleat
7. Steven Den Beste
9. A Small Victory
10. Tim Blair
If Hawkins were to create such a list today, I have no doubt we'd see plenty of new names--sites like Powerline, Hewitt, Allah, and perhaps Wizbang and INDC Journal. Not coincidentally, these are among the most consistently interesting and informed sites in the blogosphere.
As someone who has been running a political webpage since mid-2001 and who has been involved in the blogging community since early 2002, let me say that it has NEVER BEEN EASIER to build traffic and make a name for yourself than it is right now.
I say that because 2 1/2 years ago, just about the only blogger on the right side of the net who could send any significant traffic your way was Glenn Reynolds from Instapundit.
Back then, a link from the Professor was worth around 2k new sets of eyeballs hitting your page tops, 1000 more typically, or only a few hundred if it was part of one of his posts where he linked multiple blogs. There were very few other blogs capable of sending over more than a couple of hundred readers back then and most of them focused more on content than linking.
But today? Although the Instalanches are a lot bigger (I think the last one I got was around 10k daily uniques), there are now dozens and dozens of blogs capable of sending over a few hundred plus sets of eyeballs if they link you.
And from Dust in the Light, note this:
As with everything, one's approach to the experience of blogging will affect one's view of its opportunities. I've been trying to break into relatively creative fields for almost two-thirds of my not-quite-thirty years of life — first acting, then music, then writing — so when I look at the blogosphere, I see tremendous opportunity. Not only is the Internet new, unruly territory, but it's also easier to get somebody to click a link than to read a manuscript. More importantly, it's easier to get an individual to publish a link (with or without a "heh" or "indeed") to content on the author's space than to convince an editor to buy and publish a full piece. In this way, merit really does play a stronger role in blogging, and exposure in that realm increasingly reflects into the "professional" literary world.
But it can't be denied that blogging well can be hard work. In my two years of blogging, I've researched countless issues, developing indepth analyses of some, replete with charts and catalogues. I've rearranged my schedule and cut into my sleep time in order to churn out worthwhile posts at Internet speed. I've even experimented with a whole new medium (digital video) and spent a few days, during a few weeks, making vlogs. These habits can become excessive, to be sure, but I think a portion of the frustration that Billmon expresses is attributable to the balance of demands.